Sunday, July 13, 2008
Equine dental care
My horses had their teeth floated recently. I got no pictures of Montana during the process, because he has a strong reaction to the mild sedative the vet uses and I had to hold him up -- he was leaning waaaay sideways with his rear end and it was nerve-wracking. Johnny plants his feet far apart and stands like a sailor on deck.
Our vet has invested in some power tools for dental work, so it now goes much faster than the old hand rasp method.
It was news to me years ago to learn that horses' teeth grow constantly throughout their lives. As ruminants, they are constantly grinding down and regenerating tooth material; if their grinding surfaces don't match, sharp points develop and can really tear their mouths up inside.
One horse at a former boarding barn had a lifetime of crazy behavior: bucking in the show ring for no apparent reason, taking off at a wild gallop. Someone finally decided to look carefully inside his mouth, and he had the worst case of points and sores the vet had ever seen. Three extensive dental jobs later, he was a different animal altogether.
Happy mouth, happier horse.